Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the Nogiku series by SJ Pajonas. This series contains two books: Removed (Nogiku series #1) and Released (Nogiku series #2). Both books are New Adult Science Fiction Romance, Post-apocalyptic books.
You can view the complete tour schedule on the Nogiku series blog tour page on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.
And now, a guest post by S. J. Pajonas!
Top 10 Japanese Things I Love or Rely On
I have studied Japan and Japanese culture for over 15 years, and, when I decided to write the Nogiku Series, my obsession with all things Japanese got even more intense. I was writing a Japanese-based world and living one too, eating Japanese food, using Japanese items, and speaking Japanese at every available opportunity.
Now the usual debate in my head is, “But there’s a Japanese version of this, right? If so, I should buy that one instead.” It’s true. I prefer the Japanese version of pretty much everything. Give me some anime, and I’d rather listen to the Japanese language with English subtitles than the dubbed soundtrack. I prefer Japanese rice over all other rices. I prefer Japanese snacks over all other snacks. I’m pretty sure I was Japanese in a former life, at this point. So, here’s a guide to the top ten Japanese things I love or rely on. A few may come as a surprise!
1. Zojirushi Rice Cooker – I’ve had many kinds of rice cookers in my lifetime, and I love my Zojirushi rice cooker the best out of them all. Don’t buy a cheap American brand. Buy it from the country that eats rice at almost every meal. These things are smart and they are made it to last. And since I use my rice cooker at least 4 times per week, it was worth every penny.
2. Pocky – When I have a chocolate craving, only Pocky will do. These are little sweet breadsticks covered in chocolate, and sometimes come in other seasonal flavors as well. My favorites are the almond Pocky and men’s Pocky (which is a dark chocolate version. Don’t ask why it’s “men’s Pocky.” The Japanese are crazy like that.)
3. Seaweeds – It’s crazy but I eat a ton of seaweed and it all comes from Japan (and a little from Korea). Nori, wakame, konbu, arame, and hijiki are all my favorites. I put them on rice. I eat them in salad. I snack on them. My week is not complete without them.
4. Ramen – You can get non-Asian ramen easily from the grocery store, but the best kinds come from the Asian grocery store. I do like the versions from Korea and Malaysia, but I buy the most from Japan. They’re great for a cold winter day or when I’m sick. Throw in some greens and an egg and you’ve got a full meal.
5. Pens and Pencils – I buy pens and mechanical pencils from Muji Store and Kinokuniya and that’s it. Japanese mechanical pencils make me happy. They’re sturdy and well-designed, come in a multitude of lead sizes and colors. The gel pens write better than any other pen on the market. When I sign my books, I use a Japanese pen. Always.
6. Sanrio – Anything Hello Kitty or Hello Kitty related is a winner in my book. That cat can do no wrong. When faced with a decision over something with Hello Kitty on it or not, I always go with Hello Kitty. Pens and pencils, planners, beach balls, towels, blankets, umbrellas. Uh, we have a lot of Hello Kitty in this house.
7. Knitting accessories – I realize this is a specialized one, but my hobby is knitting and ALL the Japanese accessories for knitting are the best on the market. Their knitting and crochet needles are the easiest to use and last the longest. There are not a lot of Japanese yarns that I like but I buy the accessories without a second thought. Especially those pompom makers. God, I love those.
8. Sake – The best sake obviously comes from Japan. The rice, the water, and the koji all from the country where sake originates give the best flavor. I’ve tried a few American sakes and have yet to think they are any better than the imports. Yes, I’m picky about this.
9. Mizuno running shoes – This one comes from my husband more than me. Mizuno running shoes are the only brand he buys, and he swears by them. He’s on his 4th or 5th pair now and has been wearing them for close to a decade.
10. Shichimi togarashi – A simple thing, but the seven spice chili powder that’s usually on the table at most Japanese restaurants is on our table at home, and we use it on a lot of food. Something about those extra spices brings out the flavor in just about any dish. When we run out, we buy a new one immediately.
Go out and try some of these Japanese items and tell me if you prefer them over their counterparts or not!
Here’s all the information on the Nogiku series, including a Giveaway!
Duty knows no family. Love has no price. Secrets can cost you everything. Twenty-year-old Sanaa Griffin, a sweet and smart half-Japanese girl, is about to get more than she bargained for when she wishes for love and excitement on New Year’s Eve 3103. Mark Sakai, who knows more about her than any stranger should, thinks Sanaa is the perfect person to spy on the heads of the three biggest Japanese clan leaders in Nishikyo. He wants her to gather enough evidence to keep them from going to war when they land on Earth is colonization planet, Yusei. Nishikyo, built by the Japanese 300 years ago to house the rest of mankind, is failing and everyone is preparing to leave. Sakai has known Sanaa’s family all her life but she knows nothing of him! And despite all the time they spend together, he keeps his distance from her. Then one day, he brings her to Jiro, his nephew, to learn sword fighting, and it changes her life irrevocably. Between falling in love with Jiro and the information she is gathering on the clans, Sanaa realizes Sakai is holding back secrets about her family and her deceased parents, secrets as to why she was chosen for this job, and learning the truth puts her and all of Nishikyo in danger.
You can watch the trailer for Removed here:
**Contains spoilers for those who have not read Removed (Book 1)***
Left in the desert to recuperate from her injuries, Sanaa Itami paces the floors and contemplates her mistakes. She trusted too easily, and now people she loved are dead, killed at the hands of men coming to assassinate her. Sanaa feels beaten, but life awaits her at home. While Nishikyo recovers from the earthquake, negotiations for Sanaa’s eventual rule on Yusei continue. New allies must be made, new friendships brokered, new skills acquired — at all costs. Life at the top of the chain is complicated and lonely, though. With relations in Sakai clan rocky and uncertain, Sanaa must learn to trust others again more than she’s willing. Who amongst the clans is left holding a grudge? And will the new family Sanaa has found with Jiro support or betray her? From Nishikyo to Yusei, RELEASED, Book TWO of the Nogiku Series, is the second book in a captivating New Adult post-apocalyptic romance series that harnesses the cultures and traditions of Japan and sweeps them into the future between Earth and a faraway land.
You can find Released on Goodreads
About the Author:
S. J. Pajonas loves all things Asian and has been in love with Japan for as long as she can remember. Writing about Asia and Japan came naturally after studying the culture and language for over fifteen years. She studied film and screenwriting first and eventually segued into fiction once she was no longer working a full-time job.
Released is S. J. Pajonas’s second work, book two of four in the Nogiku Series. The first book in the series, Removed, is described as a wonderful story with engaging characters, seamless world building, and an action packed plot. It’s an up-til-3am-because-I-read-it-in-one-sitting book. She also writes contemporary romance, and her upcoming first book in the Love in the Digital Age series will be published in 2014.
S. J. lives with her husband and two children just outside of New York City. She loves reading, writing, film, J- and K-dramas, knitting, and astrology. Her favorite author is Haruki Murakami and favorite book is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of the Nogiku series. These are the prizes you can win: Amazon Gift Cards, copies of Removed, and eBook copies of two fantastic Japanese books: Japanese Soul Cooking and The Sake Handbook. Both will be gifted through either Amazon (Kindle) or Barnes & Noble (Nook).
You can enter the tour wide giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway